Barcelona, Brazilian star Neymar badly injures ankle

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(Updated: 6:28 p.m. …)

Barcelona star Neymar was helped off the field today in the first half of his team’s Copa del Rey match after what appears to be a badly injured ankle.

As he planted hard along the left side Thursday against Getafe, about to cross near the goal line, Neymar’s ankle buckled gruesomely. He immediately signaled for assistance and was helped off the field, unable to put any weight on the leg.

Video of the incident show what appears to be a horribly sprained or even broken ankle.

Here’s why this reaches well beyond Barcelona and all the trophies the Blaugrana is chasing: If it happens to be the case that his ankle is broken, Neymar’s chances of playing in this summer’s World Cup would certainly be in jeopardy.

And if that is the case, Brazil’s chances of winning the World Cup take a significant hit.

UPDATE: Late Thursday evening in Spain, Barcelona issued an official statement:

Neymar picked up an injury this Thursday at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez … Neymar was subbed out for Alexis after the Brazilian had been examined by the team doctors. The initial tests show that the Brazilian has sprained the peroneal tendon in his right ankle. Upon return to Barcelona, Neymar will undergo additional tests to determine the extent of the injury.”